Geldof: Africa needs aid, debt cancellation, Western and Chinese investment, and mobile phones

21 October 2013

Days after declaring his own generation had "failed," rock star philanthropist Bob Geldof has told Al Jazeera that the next generation will do so too.Geldof had struck the previous pessimistic note at The One Young World Summit in South Africa, and has followed it up in an interview with Al Jazeera English´s South2North talk show.

Geldof was nevertheless still brimming with ideas on what should happen in Africa. The force behind Band Aid and Live Aid told host Haru Mutasa in the interview to be aired tonight:

"The first thing is education. Out of that will come an economy, an economy of scale. You do need aid, you do need debt cancellation, all those things I´ve banged on about for 30 years, You do need massive inward investment from the Chinese and the West. And you do need a social glue: in Africa´s case, that´s the mobile phone.

There´s very little infrastructure here; this became a virtual infrastructure. Once you had the money available to trade, they began trading through this and you got liftoff on the African continent, so that seven of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world today are on this continent."

He says the youth are right to blame his generation for the problems in the world today. "All generations fail, but ours more spectacularly than most."

However, he`s not optimistic that this generation will do vastly better. "Your generation will fail as well," he tells Haru. "You just try and ameliorate the future and steer it in a way that you think will work out.  But if you seriously think you will escape this century without horrendous wars, without awful plagues, without deadly famines, if you think you´ll escape that, forget it."

He warns that climate change has already happened. "There´s no avoiding it now, so now you have to offset the effects. The poorest people, the most vulnerable, those who contributed t he least to this, they will be affected the most. Some of the countries out there won´t even be here in 20 years. Be very careful: wherever you look there´s a sense of unease. Name one country where there isn´t..."

Haru Mutasa is standing in for Redi Tlhabi, who is on maternity leave. She also talks to Bethlehem Alemu, the Ethiopian founder of global shoe brand SoleRebels; Nokia´s Yiwen Wu; and Jeremy Lamri, the French founder of Monkey Tie, an online recruitment platform.

This week´s episode of South2North premieres at 19:30 GMT tonight and also screens on Saturday at 14h30, Sunday 04h30 and Monday 08h30. For more info, visit www.aljazeera.com/programmes/south2north/.


Categories: ICT

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